Raju Vanapala

Founder & CEO


Going vernacular seems to be THE latest trend in publishing and marketing. What was the inspiration behind Ways2News, and how is it different from other vernacular news apps and publications in the market?

Going vernacular is not only the latest trend but also going to become the fundamental strategy for online businesses in the near future, to sustain the growing competition.

Only 10% of Indian population speak English while the remaining are fluent in their local languages and digitalization is spreading to tier 2 and tier 3 cities, at an unusual pace. Here is where we found a remarkable opportunity for Way2News to touch millions of lives with our vernacular strategy.

People do have a special emotional bond with their native language and engage more with the content in their mother tongue than in English. Even in metros, most of the people migrate for education and work, and have their roots in their native towns and villages. This is what inspired us to come up with Way2News in 8 Indian languages along with English.

In contrary to digital news publications and other vernacular news apps in the market, which aggregates the lengthy news articles across different news sites, Way2News curates selective, trending & relevant news from more than 300 sources and summarizes into short form content.

This format was created taking the decreasing attention spans of people into consideration who in general, does not have much time to keep themselves updated. Way2News has created its own niche as the first app in the market providing short news in vernacular language with heavy adoption of 1.5 millions daily active users.

Moreover, we adopted localization in almost every aspect, starting from font style to flip experience, which renders an exclusive user experience to the people of Way2News.

Reaching out to tier 2, tier 3, and sometimes even media dark areas are becoming a possibility for brands thanks to mobile devices and cheaper data options. What are the different ways according to you, that brands can make full use of these opportunities to achieve exponential growth?

It is high time to give up the idea of "common strategy for all" while digitalization is increasing across a vast scale of audiences, especially in the countries like India, where diversity is marked in almost every aspect.

Vernacular approach is an essential criteria for any brand, rather than a choice, to reach massive digital audience. Brands with local essence can emotionally connect with their audience, imposing the sense of belongingness. Also, brands can also look out for unconventional tactics to engage with their digital audience via open channels.

While there are a growing amount of vernacular content in the market today, there are multiple challenges that hinder the growth and development of these publications. What are some of the challenges that you faced, and how did you overcome these?

After we decided to develop a vernacular news application, initially, we faced many technical challenges like multiplicity of mobile device platforms as different devices have different ways to handle vernacular language. Also, it was the time where not many devices were supporting vernacular fonts.

It took developers team 4 months to come up with the app which can run seamlessly across the wide range of mobile platforms.

Then came the challenge of maintaining the quality of content across all the 9 languages, all at once. So, we recruited 50 editors from different languages. Moreover to inspect and analyze every handpicked and curated news for its utmost genuineness and best reading experience, we recruited quality team across all the 9 languages.

Although there was huge competition in the market from regular publications, we believed that vernacular is the next big thing powered by short form content, which can carry the emotion more intensely to the people. This is what made Way2News what we are today by acquiring more than 17 million downloads with highest engagement of avg 100 page views per user.